COVID-19 Update: Automobile Safety Tips for Sharing the Ride

Disinfection protocols for rideshare services and rental vehicles

May 18, 2020

You may feel protected from germs when you ride in your own automobile. But many workers rely on ride share services and even rental vehicles to get around. Here are the latest cleaning and disinfection guidelines for riding in vehicles that are not your own.

OSHA alert on rideshare safety

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an alert to help protect people who use rideshare services from contracting COVID-19. OSHA’s recommendations include:

  • Drivers and riders should wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the coronavirus
  • Rideshare companies should provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol for both drivers and customers
  • Limit the number of passengers transported at a single time and install plexiglass partitions between driver and passenger compartments where possible
  • Routinely clean and disinfect vehicle door handles and inside surfaces with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or ones that have label claims against the coronavirus
  • Lower vehicle windows to increase airflow
  • Drivers should report any safety and health concerns.

Updates to rental car cleaning routines

Rental car companies always cleaned their vehicles between customers. But like everyone else, they have stepped up their game in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Conde Nast Traveler reports.

All rental car companies are making customers aware of high-touch points that are getting additional cleaning: the steering wheel, steering column controls, the console, cup holders, touch screens, radio controls and climate controls, all air conditioning vent exhausts, all door handles, lock/unlock controls, all seat belts and buckles, trunk grab handles, gas caps and doors, and key fobs.

Budget and Avis are cleaning each car immediately after each customer return, even before employees get in the vehicle to place it in the lot. Enterprise is training its employees to implement new and more comprehensive mandates that include enhanced cleaning guidance for vehicles, shuttles, and branch locations. Hertz is marking all cars that have been sanitized with a sticker over the driver-side door, which will only be broken when the car’s driver accesses the rental for the first time.


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